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Celebration of Ministries Service

Quick links to sections on this page:

Celebrants | Licensed Lay Worship Leaders | Jubilands | Retirees

Watch our livestream of the Celebration of Ministry Service held at North Bramalea United Church in Brampton, as part of the regional meeting on Saturday, June 8, 2024 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Guest speaker: Rev. Brian McIntosh
Executive Minister: Rev. Peter Hartmans
Acting President of SWRC: David Leyton-Brown
Office of Vocation Minister: Rev. Kellie McComb
Pastoral Relations Minister: Rev. Todd McDonald

Celebration of Ministries service bulletin – [ PDF | 4 pages ] 

If you require a full script of the service for accessibility reasons, please email swrc@united-church.ca.

In Their Own Words

2024 Celebrant Reflections

Reflections from our ministry candidates in advance of the Celebration of Ministries Service, to be held on Saturday June 8, 2024.

Music: YouTube Audio Library; Falling Snow by Aakash Ghandi

Meet Our Celebrants

headshot of Jason Byassee

Photo Credit – Jason Byassee

Rev. Dr. Jason Byassee – Admittand

My name is Jason Byassee and I am the senior minister of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto, Ontario.

I was previously a professor at the Vancouver School of Theology in British Columbia, where I held the Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Hermeneutics. My primary vocation is to reinvigorate today’s church with the best of ancient and contemporary wisdom for creatively faithful living.

I have authored or edited several books and have written widely on church and culture. I am a native of North Carolina, where I was senior pastor of Boone United Methodist Church during a period of growth from 2011-2015. More recently, I was a visiting fellow at St. John’s College at Durham University in the UK.

I am married to Jaylynn Warren Byassee, a fellow Methodist minister from the US and we have served in ministry together in British Columbia. Together we have sons who are 21, 19, and 16. Things break in our house on the westside of Toronto.

Christopher Fraser – Ordinand

Hello, I am Christopher Fraser and currently serving at Parkdale United Church. I am happily married to Prentice Fraser and am excited to have a family soon. I have a B.A in political science from McMaster University. After graduation I drove across the country to live in the Comox Valley BC. I worked various roles within the forestry industry throughout BC, and was once charged by a grizzly bear!

Originally a C&E Christian, By God’s grace I walked into St. George’s United Church in Courtenay BC. There Rev. Ryan Slifka who took me under his wing, teaching me the basics of our faith. At St. George’s, I was exposed to the power and work of the Risen Christ. I saw first hand how core Christian convictions equipped people for incredible endeavors of social justice. The saints of St. George’s demonstrated to me the transforming power of God’s love, especially Clinton and Ellen Wise.

Rev. Ryan encouraged me to apply to seminary to consider being a leader in Christ’s church. I enrolled in Emmanuel College and completed my Md.Div in 2022. I interned at Alderwood United and am very thankful for Rev. Dr.Connie denBok for being my SME supervisor and mentor.

When I am not reading or writing I enjoy birding and loooong bike rides. I am excited to be on the lookout and participating in God’s activity in my church neighbourhood.

Headshot of Christopher Fraser with photo credit to Prentice Fraser

Photo Credit – Prentice Fraser

headshot of Laura Gallagher-Doucette

Photo Credit – Jeffrey Dale

Laura Gallagher-Doucette – Ordinand

Hello! My name is Laura Gallagher-Doucette, and I am a candidate for ordained ministry in the United Church of Canada.

I am a lifelong member of the United Church of Canada, having attended Trinity-St. Paul’s since I was a young child, and before that, St. Matthew’s United Church. I am honoured to devote my ministry to the denomination that raised me as a Christian.

I hold a combined honours in Theatre Studies and Early Modern Studies from the University of King’s College, a certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College, and a Master of Divinity from Emmanuel College. Upon graduation from Emmanuel, I was awarded the Sanford Gold Medal in Divinity.

I currently serve the congregation of Runnymede United Church as their Engagement and Growth Minister. It is a delight to minister to this congregation alongside Rev. Ted Grady, particularly as this community begins a new chapter as a two-campus church, having amalgamated with Windermere United Church in 2023.

I am deeply grateful for the family, friends, and communities who have shaped my journey to ministry. Your support has been a blessing beyond words.

Richard Gardner – Ordinand

As I approach this significant milestone of ordination within the United Church of Canada, I find myself reflecting on a journey that has been as enriching as it has been enlightening. My path to ministry, deeply rooted in the vibrant community of Nobleton-Schomberg, has been a testament to the power of faith, fellowship, and collective growth. This pastoral charge has been more than just a setting for my ministerial calling; it has been a dynamic ground where I have grown alongside a community that embraces each individual’s spiritual journey with open hearts and minds.

My time at The Atlantic School of Theology has been instrumental in shaping me into the minister I am today. It has deepened my engagement with the Scriptures, enabling me to think critically and reflectively about the word of God. This theological education has also refined my pastoral sensitivities, equipping me to respond with compassion and empathy to those I serve. The rigorous academic and spiritual formation I received there has played a pivotal role in preparing me to live out my calling within the United Church of Canada with conviction and grace.

Looking forward, I am committed to expanding our ecumenical ministry, fostering connections that transcend denominational boundaries. The vision I carry is one of unity and collaboration among faith communities, inspired by a belief in the transformative power of shared dialogue and action. My journey, from all of the enriching experiences at The Atlantic School of Theology to the meaningful engagements within the community I serve, have imbued me with a deep sense of purpose to bridge communities in a spirit of love, hope, and reconciliation. Together, we can illuminate the path forward, guided by the teachings of Christ and the collective wisdom of our diverse faith traditions.

headshot of Richard Gardner

Photo Credit – Richard Gardner

Headshot of Nestor Medina

Photo Credit – Néstor Medina

Rev. Dr. Néstor Medina – Admittand

I have been involved with the United Church for the last 13 years as a People in Partnership Program. I went every year to Cuba taught at the Seminario Evangélico de Teología (SET) (Evangelical Seminary of Theology). For the last few years, I have also worked in several Anti-Racial discrimination initiatives including 40 Days of Engagement on Anti-Racism. This involvement helped me imagine myself contributing to the United Church. UCC’s commitment toward Indigenous peoples and towards fostering a culture of anti-racism is something that I am happy to jump on board without hesitation.

I was formed a Catholic and a Pentecostal, I came into collaboration with the United Church convinced of the importance of considering the activity of the Holy Spirit. My involvement with the UCC and its determination to become an intercultural puts on display its profound commitment to living a life of the spirit. One of the things I celebrate most about the UCC is its willingness to be intentionally open to diversity as an expression of its vocation. These are values that I treasure and that I also teach at Emmanuel College, where I serve as faculty.

I have also learned that the United Church encompasses a rich diversity of church communities. Each local church has its own character and culture which contributes to making this denomination a phenomenal experiment. The United Church of Canada can become a new home for me. It is a place where many of my gifts as a scholar, minister, and as a member of the church are welcome. My hope is that I can make a valuable contribution as a minister not just from the sidelines.

Krista Moore – ordinand

My name is Krista and I am passionate about guiding people back to God through faith in Jesus. I came to ministry later, as a mom of two amazing adult kids, with a supportive husband and family. My journey has taken me from the world of IT, acting and writing, to spiritual retreats in Peru and Tuscany. As a spiritual director and yoga instructor, I feel I came to ministry on a spiritual “walk-about,” discovering that I was both “spiritual and religious.”

Originally baptized and confirmed as a young adult at Collier Street United Church in Barrie, I spent many years at West Hill United in Scarborough, where my faith was challenged, yet my gifts for lay worship leadership was encouraged. Called by the Spirit to return to my Christian roots, I became a member of St. Mark’s United, which accompanied me during my seminary experience at Emmanuel College. I completed my SME at Churchill and Gilford United Churches in Innisfil, where I feel duly blessed to be called as their ordained minister.

I discovered the gifts of community: connecting with other churches and organizations; serving on outreach teams like Community 4 Kids and Youth Unlimited; and participating in Innisfil’s first Diwali celebration. I feel I bring fresh perspectives, spiritual energy, and enthusiasm to new initiatives like Prayer Yoga, the “Preacher’s Plunge,” and my Jesus the Healer series and Exploring Our Faith series, which deepens faith and welcomes new members to the church.

My mission is to share the love of Jesus, inspire faith and hope in God, and nurture spiritual growth in community. 


Headshot of Krista Moore

Photo Credit – Krista Moore

Headshot of Robert Murdock

Photo Credit – Maureen Attwell-Murdock

Robert Murdock – Commissionand

A lifelong pursuit of understanding my place in the world and how the puzzle pieces of life fit together, was a never absent goal throughout the years. The ecumenical experiences of several Christian denominations, built a personal credo on which my inquiries could progress. The fullness of time had not yet arrived. It wasn’t until the passing of my wife—Patricia, that I began to seriously and earnestly explore my relationship with the Divine.

The Circle of Accompaniment—those peers, friends, and mentors that walked alongside my journey, became resources of knowledge and sources of comfort that will be invaluable in my ministry. I acknowledge and name those saints in my video presentation. Collier St. United supported my candidacy and became a place of both refuge and learning. St. James in Stroud has called me to continue that pathway in service. Nearly four decades in law enforcement and ten years in teaching provided a wealth of unique and unparalleled lived experiences on which to build as I seek to serve God, a community of faith and the wider church.

The depth of knowledge provided by the Centre for Christian Studies gave me the freedom to explore personal growth and their support was foundational. As I complete my Master of Theological Studies at St. Stephen’s I am reminded that personal self-improvement was not an unintended side effect of education.

The world is in great turmoil and we must be willing and prepared to offer not only refuge and solace but provide the grace and strength to meet these crises head on with humility, with hope, with faith, and with love for all.

Andrea Wheaton – Ordinand

I graduated from Emmanuel College in 1992 with a Master of Religious Education and in 1994 with a Master of Divinity. In 1989 I began the candidacy process towards ordination, but requirements, such as the settlement process, deterred me from continuing that path and I withdrew from candidacy in 1992.

As I considered other options for living into my call to ministry, in 1998 a church welcomed me, after a Toronto Conference interview, to serve in full-time accountable ministry. In 2010, I was interviewed again, to be recognized as a Designated Lay Minister even though I did not have the benefit of the DLM training.  I have served two congregations in Barrie since 1998, at the first in the Ministry of Christian Education and the second as Minister of Word, Sacrament & Pastoral Care. Thirty years after seminary and with twenty-six years of experience serving in the local community of faith as their minister or on committees and boards for all other levels of the United Church, now is the right time to take this step to recognize, with ordination, my call to ministry.

While I celebrate this step with joy, I also feel some sorrow in leaving behind my DLM identity. I do know that my ministry as a DLM will not be diminished by ordination, but instead my future ministry will benefit from experience as a DLM. In continuing my faith journey, I am blessed to do so with the people of Burton Ave United where I have served since 2015!

Headshot of Andrea Wheaton

Photo Credit – Peter Michalski

image of an open bible with the pages folded to make the shape of a heart and a lit candle behind the bible

2024 Jubilands

Join us in celebrating the following ministers who have significant anniversaries of their entry into ministry in The United Church of Canada:  Jubilands List  (PDF | 2 pages)

image of the sun shining on a lake, text reads retirees

Ministry Personnel Retirees for 2024

We celebrate the journey of those ministry personnel who have decided to retire in 2024.  Please join us in giving thanks for their ministry:
Daniel Benson, Lois Brown, James Clubine, Patricia James (DLM), Margaret MacDonald, Brian McIntosh, Karen Ptolemy-Stam, Barry Rieder (DLM), Meriel Simpson, Linda Wheler, Neil Ryerson Young, and Janet Smith Zenwirt.



Reflections on Retirement

Here are the statements from our retirees about themselves and their journey in ministry.

headshot of Dan Benson

Rev. Daniel Benson

2014 marks the tenth anniversary of my ordination, and in looking back on my years in congregational and intentional interim ministry, a decade at General Council Office as Executive Minister of Communications, and, about the same tenure with the Anglicans as General Manager of Anglican Book Centre, I’m surprised to tally some 30 years working in Churchland.  Turning the clock way back (the pun is intentional), my first vocation was as a horologist;  the wandering road between tending time and tending sheep gives credence to the clichés that God moves in mysterious ways and has a sense of humour.  Along the way, I have found that ministry, whatever form it takes and wherever it takes root, is always rewarding and challenging, is found both in the instant and infinite, is often clearly defined yet frustratingly obscure,  and is relentless as the return of the sabbath but as remarkable as the empty tomb.  

Gratitude is at the core of my faith: I’ve often begun a reflection, worship, or a meeting with the words, ‘The first and best prayer is always one of gratitude…’ Yet, I know I’ve often fallen short of that ideal: the pressures of ministry, an ever-increasingly complex world, the suffering I see around us and experience within us, paradoxically push gratitude aside even as it becomes more essential to our hearts.  So, as I continue in retirement to serve God’s church in the world in new ways, I return to gratitude: for the congregations of East End, St. Paul’s Scarborough, Glebe Road, Dalston-Crown Hill, and Bloor Street; friends and colleagues at General Council and General Synod; my husband Grant and my family; and for all those who have walked this journey with me. I’m grateful for all of you and all of this:  it has been time well-spent. Thanks be to God. 


Rev. Lois Brown

Lois Brown, the youngest of four children, was born on April 25,1947 in Kirkland Lake, ON. She lived in Kearns until 1956 when the family of one boy and three girls moved to Elliot Lake, a booming uranium ming town. Her father died suddenly in 1968 when she was in first-year Co-Op Chemistry at Waterloo University. Lois continued her education at Toronto Teachers’ College and taught Special Education for 32 years while taking night classes at U. of T., graduating with a BSc. She then attended Emmanuel College, graduating in May, 2005 with an M Div.   

Her first pastoral charge was 12.5 years at St. Andrew’s, Port Loring, and St. Paul’s in Golden Valley, ON. Her second charge was 7 years at Unity United in Midland, ON. Lois is the mother of one son, Greg, who is a Superintendent in the Simcoe County District School Board, the grandmother of three grown children and the great grandmother of one. She enjoys doing ‘on-call’ chaplaincy at the local hospital and spending time snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, boating, swimming and travelling with her family and friends. 


headshot of Lois Brown
headshot of Jim Clubine

Rev. Dr. James Clubine

I was born into a family that faithfully attended worship at a local Baptist church in what was then a rural part of Ontario.  It was there that I learned of our Saviour Jesus Christ and his great love and grew in my faith commitment to him.  Through the ministry of that congregation, I sensed a call to ministry and began divinity studies at Central Baptist Seminary. Upon graduation I served a congregation of the Missionary Church of Canada for ten years, four years as youth minister and then six years as senior pastor.  

I stepped aside from pastoral ministry and took up leadership development consulting work.  During that time my wife and I began worshipping at West Ellesmere United Church in Scarborough where my seminary preaching professor, Rev. Dr. James Wetherall was pastoring, and he encouraged me to return to pastoral ministry.  During the process of seeking credentialling in the United Church of Canada I served, for five years, the congregations of Beverley Hills United Church and Downsview United Church in the west end of Toronto for five years, first as a student minister and then was settled there upon ordination.    

In 2003 I accepted a call to Central United Church in Unionville where I have served as minister of worship and pastoral care for just over 20 years.  I am grateful for the congregations I have had the joy of serving and for our Lord’s faithfulness to me in that work.  As I reflect on the almost forty years of pastoral ministry, I can say that there is nothing else I would rather do.   


Patricia James – Designated Lay Minister

My road to ministry began as a child when I joined in saying the Lord’s Prayer at school every morning. We didn’t ever attend church (although my parents walked the walk every day of their life) but the prayer became my evening prayer every night since grade one. The wonderful result of this simple introduction to God is that I developed the most loving, childlike relationship with the Holy Spirit. It was that innocent relationship that led me to live Micah 6:8 throughout my life. It led me to work in the social services sector helping others, until I could no longer ignore the call to ministry at 57 years old. 

I am exceptionally proud of the DLM stream that I chose to guide me over the past 10 years. Throughout the extensive training, the focus on compassionate, pastoral care and the importance of including justice issues (i.e. Indigenous) in my ministry, enabled me to lead with empathy Indigenous spirituality, a crucial part in the life of the United Church.  

It is through the teaching of the DLM Circles that I found ways to grow our church community and family; a family that stayed strong and connected throughout the covid years and one that I pray will be guided to do justice, love kindness, and continue to walk humbly with God. 

Thank you, Lord, for your grace upon me. 


headshot of Patricia James

Rev. Margaret MacDonald

I am delighted to embrace this new chapter called retirement on life’s journey. Thank you to the United Church for your acceptance and the opportunity to live my faith in Jesus Christ through serving Communities of Faith.  I am blessed to call Canada my home.  

Thank you to my family, friends and colleagues. Most importantly, thank you to all the people I encountered on my journey. Here I met Ken MacDonald. Here I baptized my grandson. Here I learned the significance of coffee fellowship and the mysteries of table conversations. It is a privilege to serve God’s people.  

In 1993, at my ordination service in Guyana and my admission to the United Church I heard these words: “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you asked him in my name.” (John 15:16. NRSV). With heartfelt gratitude: “Love one another!” Thanks be to God! 


Rev. Brian McIntosh

The Reverend Brian McIntosh was ordained by Toronto Conference of the United Church of Canada in 1988, has served in Congregations in the Maritimes and herein Toronto, and has served at Bloordale United Church in Etobicoke from 2008 until this year, as he retires at the end of June.  

Brian has served in local, regional and national United Church and ecumenical organizations as well as inter-faith and community groups, with a concentration on efforts to seek justice and advocate for equality and human dignity.  Brian has served in right relations building with Indigenous peoples for 35 years, and has undertaken community development work throughout his ministry by fostering partnerships and collaboration with others who share similar goals.  

Brian was the 1998 recipient of the Fredericton YMCA Peace Medallion, the 2023 Canadian Council of Imams Community Interfaith Award, is the proud father of two adult daughters, Lydia and Sarah, a grandparent of five, and is the happy husband of Debbie. 


Headshot of Brian McIntosh
headshot of Karen Ptolomy-Stam

Rev. Karen Ptolemy-Stam  

When I began to discern a call to ordered ministry many years ago, little did I realize that I was at the beginning of a journey that would lead to 40 years as a minister in the United Church of Canada.  The journey has been one of deep meaning.  In 1984 I was ordained by Bay of Quinte Conference. I started out as that conference’s minister with the Deaf.  My feminist and liberation theology were gifts as I learned about the oppression and marginalization of the deaf community both in Canada and around the world. I worked with a deaf congregation, was the Chaplain at Sir James Whitney School with the Deaf and visited deaf people in hospitals and prisons.   

I was sent to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the only deaf university in the world. There I took advanced sign language training as there was no place in Canada offering this program at that time.  After seven years, I was called to Fenelon Falls United Church where I stayed for eleven years.  This rural two-point pastoral charge taught me that we can work together to do the work and ministry of Christ.  Lives can be changed and spirits nourished.  I then served George St. United Church in downtown Peterborough.  This congregation taught me to risk.  Initiated by lay folk, we offered educational opportunities for people to engage in theology and explore their faith in a more progressive and inclusive way.  We found that there was interest outside the church for the opportunities we offered.   We hosted events, sometimes for up to 600 people.  Questions, doubts and conversations led to new understandings of faith. In 2011 I moved to Toronto Conference (now Shining Waters Regional Council) to St. Paul’s United Church in Midland where I have served for almost 13 years. This congregation has taught me to embrace change and new technology.  It engages fully in the life of the community as well as globally with its refugee sponsorships.   

I am indebted to these congregations for their wisdom, faith and commitment to walk the path of Christ.  I am also very grateful to the United Church of Canada whose vision of an inclusive and justice-based faith has broadened my understanding of God. It transformed my understanding on what it means to be a Christian in a multi-faith world. I was privileged to serve on the General Council Executive for six years, and on its sub-Executive for three years. I am also deeply grateful for all of those who have shared this journey with me all these years. In these people I have witnessed the Holy Spirit, the sacred mystery working in us all. Lastly, my spouse, Keith Stam, has been on this journey since the very beginning.  His love and support have never wavered and for that I am truly grateful. 


Dr. Barry Rieder – Designated Lay Minister

Although my theological training was in the Lutheran Church, I found home within The United Church due to its strong roots in the social gospel movement and commitment to justice.  I wonder though if we have become a little too inward looking and lost a bit of our salt though.  I remember the first few AGMs of Toronto Conference when media would cover the proposals we approved and Stephen Mabee as president of the conference asked all congregations to participate in the Days of Action.   

For the last 29 years I have been serving as the Community Minister in Jane and Finch.  It has been a great honour and privilege to walk with this low income but culturally rich community.  During that time, I was awarded a Social Justice Award for Outstanding Achievement and an Honourary Doctorate for work in the community.  However, the greatest award has been the love and respect I received from the community.  Working in partnership with the community, building upon its strengths and assets we have tried to raise the economic bar of the community.  The community has and still does have its challenges, mainly rooted in systemic racialized poverty.  Some of the symptoms of this are the outbreaks of violence and I must admit providing pastoral care to 3-4 fatal shootings a year has been taxing. 

I am grateful that through lobbying of fellow community ministers across the country that Community Ministry is now recognized as a Community of Faith and not just seen as the poor cousins on the back porch.  Not only does community ministry have much to offer the particular communities they serve, but has much to offer to the wider church.  I am grateful that at the last AGM, a proposal to sustain the three Community Ministries in the region was approved.  I retire in confidence that the vital community ministry in Jane and Finch will continue and that God is calling the Church to where it needs to be.  I leave you with a quote from Proverbs 14:31 “If you oppress poor people, you insult the God who made them; but kindness shown to the poor is an act of worship.” 


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Rev. Meriel Simpson

A first generation Canadian, I was born and grew up in Toronto. I gained my B.A. in Modern Languages from Victoria University, U of T and later earned a Business and Computer Programming Certificate from Ryerson. For many years, I worked in the corporate world, initially in the airline industry, then as a computer programmer and finally as a Communication Specialist. My home congregation was Dewi Sant Welsh United Church in Toronto, where I was an active member for 30 years. Between my corporate work and church work, I gained a lot of leadership experience.   

Over the years at Dewi Sant, I taught Sunday School, was on Council, assisted the Clerk of Session and did some lay preaching. Like many other people, my call was not a “burning bush” but a slow realization and response to God’s nudges and whisperings, which had never stopped through the years.  I studied for the ministry and received my Masters of Divinity degree from Emmanuel College in 2014.   

After completing an internship at Westway United Church (U.C), I was ordained in June 2015 and appointed to Cosburn U.C., where I ministered to a small congregation in the throes of deciding to become part of a regional church. In December, 2016, I was delighted to receive a call from Scarborough Bluffs U.C. to be their minister.  

The congregation of Scarborough Bluffs welcomed me very warmly and I soon came to know a kind and vital group of people who were devoted to their church.  We had seven great years together, however, as in everyone’s life, there comes a point when planning for retirement becomes essential. My remaining family lived in BC and my sister was practicing medicine in Michigan. We decided to be with family in Nanaimo.  We made the trip across the country at the beginning of May and have just moved into our new home. 


Rev. Linda Wheler

I am grateful to have served in ministry within the United Church for the last 27 years. It has been a great privilege to witness the work of the Holy Spirit within people and congregations throughout my ministry.  

I graduated from Emmanuel College with a M. Div. in 1997 and I was settled into a part-time position in ministry with children and youth at King City United Church. At the same time, I started a part time position in pastoral care at Islington United which eventually led to a fulltime position at Islington. I had the joy of serving the people of Islington United Church as Minister of Pastoral Care for 17 years. Then since 2014 I have had the privilege of serving with the people at Trinity United Church in Newmarket for the last ten years. 

While in Toronto West Presbytery I served On Education and Students Committee. When I moved to Trinity I became an Educational Supervisor, I had the honour of accompanying three people on their journey toward ministry.  I have also had the opportunity of serving in the ministry of connecting resources and ministry with the Church Development and Leadership Committee at Toronto United Church Council. 

This last 27 years has been an exciting journey of ministry, learning, growing and serving within this United Church of ours as we continue to faithfully seek creative ways of serving in the mission and ministry of Christ Jesus. 


Image of a man shooting an old style musket, the smoke from the gun hides the man's face

Rev. Neil Ryerson Young

Neil Young was a candidate out of Woodroffe United Church, Ottawa, and studied at Emmanuel College, Toronto, 1983-86, with 2 summers as an Armed Forces Chaplain Assistant and summer ’85 on the Grasslands Pastoral charge in south Saskatchewan: Mankota, McCord, Glentworth, Fir Mountain & Wood Mountain. In 1984-85 he was on field placement at College St. UC, in Toronto. 

Ordained at Montral & Ottawa Conference in 1986, he was settled in Borderlands Pastoral Charge, Moose Jaw Presbytery: Coronach, Fife Lake, Rockglen & Killdeer. The next year he married Kate McLarty, who worked candidate supply on the charge until 1989. He took a 2nd settlement in Iron Bridge & Bellingham, Algoma Presbytery, while Kate took the Rydal Bank charge. Thereafter, they worked separate pastoral charges. 

He moved to Harriston & Cotswold, Bruce Presbytery, in 1992, then to Erindale in Mississauga, Halton Presbytery, in 1999. In 2015 he moved to St. Andrew’s at Yonge & Bloor in Toronto, from which he now retires. He has served in matters of finance and property at all levels of the church, and was on the council of Emmanuel College and the Board of Regents of Victoria University for 9 years.     

His interests have included ancient numismatics and Biblical archaeology. His collections of sermon volumes from the 1800s and pages from pre-King James bibles are now in the collection of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at U. of T. He does historical reenactment, serving as a Grenadier in the King’s Royal Regiment of New York (1777-1784) a Loyalist formation from the War of the American Rebellion.  

Kate and Neil have three daughters and three grandsons.    

Rev. Janet Smith Zenwirt

Who runs home from school in Grade 1 to teach their teddy bears from their Sunday School books? I was a dancing spirit preaching good news and making sure they were seen, heard, and loved. My childhood was steeped in church life at Queensville United. My family demonstrated the value found in people’s full humanity, and I took this approach through my communications, advocacy, and community work in addition to church roles prior to attending Emmanuel College in January 2011. Mid-life provides experiences for understanding the complexities of life and death, essentials for pastoral ministry. I also learned to embrace patience and waiting as I delayed graduation until 2016.  

After an internship at St. Andrew’s United, Georgetown, I served briefly at Christchurch United, Mississauga before Westway United, Toronto. I am currently savouring ministry at St. Mark’s, Toronto. I treasure helping people deepen connections with each other, our broader world, and God through inclusive, spiritually enriching approaches. The vibrancy and tenacity of people has stayed in my heart during these brave days of being the church and living out the inclusive and daring ways of Jesus. It has been a blessing to journey with people in celebration and sorrow as we listen for the Spirit’s quiet yet bold presence to lead us.  

While I intend to embrace retirement, I will continue to treasure my church, the beautiful people I have met along the way, and my supportive colleagues. The Dancing Spirit will continue to lead me on faith-filled adventures that strive for connection with others and God. I will still demonstrate and utter these words: know that you are seen, heard, and loved just as you are.     


headshot of Janet Smith Zenwirt
text over blurred green trees saying well done good and faithful servant